ABB held a grand opening on June 5 at its new factory in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, U.S.

The US$10-million state-of-the-art facility will serve as the headquarters for ABB’s High Voltage Products Business Area in the United States, replacing the facility that was previously located in nearby Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The new factory will produce a full line of high-voltage dead-tank circuit breakers for voltages ranging from 38 to 800 kV. These products are typically used for switching transmission lines and protecting equipment such as transformers, reactors and capacitors on electric utility networks.

The investment reaffirms ABB’s commitment to product manufacturing in its core businesses in power technologies. ABB conceived the new factory to reduce cycle time while also setting new standards in high voltage product manufacturing efficiency and quality.

The new facility is registered to the ISO9001 quality system and the ISO14001 environmental management system. ABB expects to cut cycle times for all breaker sizes by 40% while increasing product quality with a wide array of systems and processes, including:

  • Computer-controlled material storage units to ensure component cleanliness and inventory accuracy.

  • A wireless computer network for tracking production flow and quality test results on every circuit breaker from the initial assembly to shipment.

  • A series of environmental control measures, including electric powered material handling and a climate controlled assembly area, designed to improve quality by eliminating contaminants that could affect product performance in the field.

  • A fully automated gas handling facility to reduce product testing cycle time.

“The improvements we’re making in our manufacturing processes go hand in hand with the advances we’re making in the products themselves,” said Chris Reinbold, ABB senior vice president and general Manager. “For example, the new gas handling system we’ve implemented at Mt. Pleasant not only improves our internal efficiencies, it eliminates any possibility of contaminated product reaching our customers. It also allows us to implement a new leak testing regimen that sets a new standard of excellence in our industry.” (The high-voltage lab is pictured on the left.)